My Current Media Obsession
As parents, my husband and I try to limit our daughter’s screen time to mostly educational children’s shows such as “Sesame Street” and “Super Why!” But let’s be honest here: there are days where work and school completely does us in and we want to do nothing more than zone out in front of the television. Herein lies my current media obsession: finding entertaining-TV-shows-that-we-can-watch-in-front-of-our-children-but-do-not-feature-any-sort-of-cartoon-character-or-singing. You would think it would be an easy task considering we have more accessible channels now compared to 30 years ago. Yet, gone are the days of “Full House,” “Mork & Mindy” and “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” that used to compete for screen time at my parents’ house growing up.
It has taken some trial and error, but I’ve come up with our go-to family playlist that keeps us all entertained on those aforementioned days:
1) “Modern Family”
A staple. It is so well written and as far-fetched as some of the episodes seemed before we had children, boy does it seem realistic now. From the constantly stressed, anal- retentive mom, Claire (a.k.a. me), to the spoiled dog, Stella (our Georgie), to the well- intentioned in-laws, it is not only entertaining, it has a message deeply embedded in each episode: your family always has your back.
2) “Big Bang Theory”
Although this show may occasionally touch upon some adult issues, I secretly love the fact that my toddler can pronounce “astrophysicist” and that she picked out a “Bazinga!” (spelled out as elements) shirt for her newborn sister. The importance of friends being there for one another is stressed, while emphasizing that everyone, no matter their quirks, their clothes or their career, has their own place in this world.
3) “Little House on the Prairie”
An oldie but a goodie. After my husband and I had an in-depth conversation about how Charles Ingalls was “the man,” a quick search of the television guide led us to the ultimate family show. Watching it now as adults we realize we glossed over some of the darker issues as children (Mary’s blindness, the plague and Laura calling off her wedding because Almanzo wanted her to quit her job), but we now openly discuss them with our oldest.
A very short, but sweet list that meets our needs while still leaving ample time to read, play and cuddle together as a family…without a cartoon character in sight.
Amanda Holdsworth is a doctoral student at the University of Southern California studying organizational change and leadership. She earned a master’s degree in strategic public relations from USC and a bachelor’s degree in communications management and honors international studies from Robert Morris University. She has been working in marketing and PR for more than 10 years and is looking forward to mentoring the next generation of women in media through teaching, advising and consulting once she graduates.